In this study we investigated the effects of news reports on acquirer short-term performance. Our focus was on the extent to which key deal characteristics – the type of deal, during a merger wave or not or the presence of a significant premium – are made explicit. Moreover, we looked for the effect of the assessment of the deal characteristics by different key informants: board members, top management team members, and analysts. Configurations derived using the set-theoretic approach suggest that media-transmitted signals form complex interrelations among content and informant. We found that investors react positively to deals that are surrounded by unequivocal signals of synergy potential: they contain explicitly stated deal characteristics as well as deal endorsements from the boards and/or top management of acquirer and target companies. Analysts’ assessments of the deals seem to bear little influence on investor reaction. Meanwhile, investors react negatively to deals with low or absent media coverage as well as deals surrounded by signals of ambiguous synergy potential.
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